UNAM has the first fetal surgery unit in Mexico and the world!

By Valeria Bigurra Peñavera

The National Autonomous University (UNAM) of Mexico has the first Fetal Research, Medicine and Surgery Unit in Mexico and first in the world too.

This unit is designed to prevent, detect and correct lethal diseases in babies before they’re born. The operating team is made up of a group of specialists from the Institute of Neurobiology (GNI) led by Rogelio Cruz Martinez, which are in fact the first group of experts in Mexico to intervene fetuses with "incompatible with life" conditions.

Such conditions are: monochorionic pregnancies (twins who share a placenta), complicated with twin-to-twin transfusion or restriction of selective growth, lung problems (bronchopulmonary sequestration, cystic adenomatoid malformation, hydrothorax and diaphragmatic hernia) and urinary syndrome (Megacystis) and fetal tumors (teratoma sacrococcygeal, cervical lymphangioma) and fetal heart diseases (fetal aortic stenosis).

CirugiaFetal

The center will also seek to perfection techniques such as laser ablation of fetal lung tumors, and have designed two new interventions, one in America and one in the world: fetal bronchoscopy (obstruction of the trachea-bronchus) and endoscopic tracheal intubation (neck tumors).

The multidisciplinary team of the Unit, located in the Specialist Hospital for Children and Women in Queretaro, has performed more than 300 successful interventions in three and a half years, which implies a survival rate of 80%.

The group is made up of Cruz Martínez, fetal surgeon, as well as maternal and fetal doctors, a fetal cardiologist, a Perinatologist, a perinatal geneticist, obstetricians, gynecologists, neonatologists and pediatric surgeons.

Furthermore, the Research Unit of Neurodevelopment (INb) also has specialists in various areas that are responsible for providing postoperative follow-up in order to identify risk factors and to provide therapy to prevent any childhood neurological sequelae.

The UNAM acquired high resolution ultrasound (Voluson E8) equipment and thanks to the cooperation of various foundations and to the combined efforts of physicians and researchers, it’s a medical service available free of charge, from any public institutions (IMSS, ISSSTE, PEMEX, SSA), even other South American countries.

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